CategoryCanada

‘Reason to celebrate’: Early evidence suggests vaccines halting COVID outbreaks in nursing homes

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The evidence is anecdotal and less-than-definitive, but experts say the limited amount of COVID-19 vaccination completed in Canada is already having a tangible, positive impact.

Outbreaks in long term care facilities have been stopped or prevented in the wake of residents receiving coronavirus shots, say doctors in British Columbia and Ontario.

In hard-hit Toronto, for instance, the number of new nursing home outbreaks is “way down,” and in homes with existing outbreaks, new cases seem to stop at about 21 days after the residents received their first vaccine dose, said Dr. Allison McGeer, one of Canada’s leading infectious-disease specialists.

Such results are obviously the hoped-for goal of a vaccination campaign, but the apparent success as Canada’s initial supply of vaccine peters out provides at least a glimmer of hope amid the continuing infection and death.

“It certainly looks like the vaccine is doing what it’s supposed to be doing,” said McGeer Monday. “It’s definitely something to celebrate. If this is happening, it’s brilliant.”

https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/reason-to-celebrate-early-evidence-suggests-vaccines-halting-covid-outbreaks-in-nursing-homes

Made-in-Canada coronavirus vaccine starts human clinical trials

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A made-in-Canada vaccine to protect against COVID-19 began human clinical trials Tuesday in Toronto, says the biotechnology company that developed the vaccine.

Toronto-based Providence Therapeutics said three shots will be given to 60 adult volunteers at a clinical trial site in Toronto in the first phase of the trial on Tuesday. 

Fifteen of those volunteers will receive a placebo, and 45 will get the vaccine, called PTX-COVID19-B.

Brad Sorenson, the company’s CEO, said it’s the first time a vaccine designed and manufactured in Canada has begun clinical trials. The company has purchased a site in Calgary to mass produce the vaccine. 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/covid-19-vaccine-providence-1.5887613

Canadian researchers find COVID-19 antibodies last for months, likely years

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Hart Jackson’s colleagues at Sinai Health in Toronto have affectionately nicknamed him ‘the human pincushion.’

For months now, Jackson has been routinely pricking his finger to provide blood samples, in hopes of helping to answer a central question in the fight against COVID-19: How long does immunity last?

And so far, the findings appear promising.

“From all indications, I think there is a good chance that it can be longer lasting,” he said.

After completing his training in Switzerland, Jackson moved home to Toronto in March 2020, just as the first wave of COVID-19 was crashing into Canada.

“At about day five (of our quarantine), my partner developed a dry cough. And then it all started, where we all had slight fevers and coughs, including our six-month-old,” he recalled.

“We got the (COVID-19 test) results back very fast, which were positive and shocked all of us.”

Following his recovery in April, Jackson heard that some of his colleagues at Sinai Health and the University of Toronto were developing an antibody test to investigate whether patients who’d previously been sick with COVID-19 were immune to re-infection.

“As soon as the trial started, I was signing up right away and hoping to get involved and provide any samples that I can,” he said. “At the time, it wasn’t known how long this (immunity) was going to last.”

But now 10 months since he became infected with COVID-19, Jackson’s antibodies remain robust. And COVID-19 researchers are growing increasingly optimistic that immunity — whether acquired through infection or vaccination — will endure for some time.

“We know several people that were infected back in February and they still have quite a bit of antibodies,” said Anne-Claude Gingras, a biochemist and senior investigator at the LTRI, who developed one of the earliest COVID-19 antibodies tests.

“The neutralizing antibodies decline a little bit, but they decline very, very slowly.”

https://globalnews.ca/news/7589668/canadian-researchers-coronavirus-antibodies/

Canada has now given enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to cover 1 per cent of the population

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The number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Canada has surpassed one per cent of the country’s total population.

There had been 387,899 vaccinations given in Canada as of end-of-day Tuesday, according to data compiled by CTV News. That’s equivalent to 1.021 per cent of the population.

That does not mean more than one per cent of Canadians have been vaccinated, as some of those 387,899 vaccinations have been recipients’ second doses. The two vaccines approved for use in Canada both involve two shots, given weeks apart.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/canada-has-now-given-enough-covid-19-vaccine-doses-to-cover-1-per-cent-of-the-population-1.5264794

Vaccine rollout picks up speed in First Nations across Canada

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The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has begun to arrive in First Nations across the country as the pandemic’s second wave continues to batter many remote Indigenous communities.

In British Columbia, the Moderna vaccine arrived in 10 First Nations on Tuesday, communities that were chosen based on remoteness, need and the availability of health care staff, said Shannon McDonald, the deputy chief medical officer for the province’s First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).

Dr. McDonald declined to say which communities are getting the vaccine and how many doses are being offered.

“There’s certainly not enough vaccine available to satisfy all the requirements,” she said in an interview. “And then, just like everybody else, we wait for the next allotment.”

Tahltan Nation in northwestern B.C., however, announced on its Facebook page this week that it had received 600 Moderna doses from the FNHA. The Gitga’at Health Centre in Hartley Bay posted photos of its first vaccination clinic, held Wednesday, that included 95-year-old elder Helen Clifton, the first community member to be inoculated.

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US Vice-President Mike Pence receives vaccine live on TV

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US Vice-President Mike Pence has received the coronavirus vaccine live on TV, telling the audience and doctors: “I didn’t feel a thing.”

The White House said the aim of the move was to “promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and build confidence among the American people”.

Mr Pence’s wife and Surgeon General Jerome Adams also received the jab at the televised White House event.

On Monday the US began rolling out the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

The first vaccine to be approved in the US, it offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19.

The first three million doses are being distributed to locations across the 50 US states.

Meanwhile, a second vaccine, developed by Moderna, has come a step closer to receiving emergency approval after it was endorsed by a panel of experts.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-55362697

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Moderna vaccine safe and effective, say US experts

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Moderna’s vaccine is safe and 94% effective, regulators say, clearing the way for US emergency authorisation.

The analysis by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) means it could become the second coronavirus vaccine to be allowed in the US.

It comes one day after Americans across the country began receiving jabs of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The news comes as the US coronavirus death toll passes 300,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Endorsement of the Moderna vaccine by FDA scientists was announced on Tuesday, two days before the vaccine panel meets to discuss emergency approval.

The 54-page document said there were “no specific safety concerns” and that serious adverse reactions were rare.

If approved by the team of experts later this week, and by the FDA’s vaccine chief, shipments could begin within 24 hours.

The FDA found a 94.1% efficacy rate out of a trial of 30,000 people, according to the document they released.

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Canada administers first doses of COVID-19 vaccine

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Canada administered its first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, becoming one of the first countries to do so in the effort to beat back the pandemic.

Five front-line workers in Ontario were among the first Canadians to receive the vaccine at one of Toronto’s hospitals.

Anita Quidangen, a personal support worker who worked throughout a COVID-19 outbreak at the Rekai Centre nursing home in Toronto, got the first dose in Ontario.

“It’s an honor, thank you very much,” she said. “I’ll continue to do my job as a PSW.”

Quebec announced that a long-term care resident in that province’s capital had been injected with the vaccine at 11:25 a.m. making her the first in Canada to get immunized.

“It was very emotional for me,” said Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, who witnessed it in Quebec. “I cried.”

https://apnews.com/article/toronto-ontario-health-coronavirus-pandemic-quebec-b5e7c334cb00663b4566f02a0eba3071HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Trudeau Ramps Up Vaccine Push, Secures Early Doses From Moderna

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Canada has secured 417,000 early doses of two Covid-19 vaccines, part of a push by Justin Trudeau’s government to inoculate as many Canadians as possible against the virus before the end of the year.

The government reached an agreement with Moderna Inc. for as many as 168,000 doses of its vaccine, which will be shipped within 48 hours of Health Canada’s approval, the prime minister said Tuesday. The first inoculations of the approved Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE shot began Monday, with the bulk of an initial order of 249,000 due next week.

“As with the early shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, this moves us even further forward on getting Canadians protected as quickly as possible,” Trudeau told reporters at an Ottawa news conference. “The regulatory process for the Moderna vaccine is ongoing, but I want to assure Canadians that any vaccine approved in Canada will be both safe and effective.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-15/trudeau-ramps-up-vaccine-push-secures-early-doses-from-modernaHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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First round of US vaccinations to begin on Monday

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The US public will start receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine from Monday after it was authorised for emergency use, officials say.

The first three million doses of the vaccine would be shipped “across all states” this weekend, said Gen Gustave Perna, who is overseeing distribution.

The vaccine offers up to 95% protection against Covid-19 and was deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

During a news conference on Saturday, Gen Perna – speaking for the US government’s vaccination campaign Operation Warp Speed – said doses of the vaccine would be packed into shipping containers for transportation “within the next 24 hours”.

“Expect 145 sites across the states to receive the vaccine on Monday, another 425 sites on Tuesday, and the final 66 sites on Wednesday,” he said, adding that next week’s distribution would complete the initial delivery of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and cover about three million people.

Gen Perna told reporters he was “100% confident” that the doses “needed to defeat the enemy Covid” would be transported safely.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-55289726HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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